Zimbabwean Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, chief negotiator for President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party on issues concerning the national unity government, has ruled out snap elections this year as the party demanded in a late-2010 conference.
In an interview carried in the state-controlled Herald newspaper Thursday, Chinamasa said that in his view it would be impossible to hold elections this year.
“We need to start talking about elections next year or 2013 assuming the [constitutional] referendum is completed in September as we have been advised" by the select parliamentary committee in charge of the constitutional revision process.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai echoed similar sentiments Thursday at his party’s on-going congress in Bulawayo, saying elections could be held in 2012. But political analysts have expressed concern at what political parties in the unity government are calling a draft road-map to the next elections, saying it is inadequate.
The draft published by newspapers in Harare contained no specific dates or milestones.
The road-map is littered with many of the so-called outstanding issues not addressed by the Global Political Agreement for power sharing signed in 2008 by leaders of the three parties now governing together, albeit in a manner that is often conflictual.
These include the question of Western sanctions, media reform, security sector reform and the appointment of various boards such as the Human Rights Commission.The last part of the draft road-map, however, deals more specifically with issues to do with elections such as the delimitation of constituencies and other reforms.
ZANU-PF Chairman Simon Khaya Moyo refused to comment on Chinamasa’s reported remarks, referring questions to party spokesman Rugare Gumbo who was unavailable.
Political analyst Trevor Maisiri, executive director of the Africa Reform Institute told VOA reporter Blessing Zulu that the road-map must be specific if it is to be effective.
Analyst Brilliant Mhlanga said the road-map amounted to a wish-list of the negotiators with few specifics and vague pledges that could later be disowned.